Documentary : Country Life
Struggle in the Wake
鯉師親子の再出発 ～小千谷･地震から１年の記録～ [NHK]
｜Length : 43min. ｜Year : 2006 ｜
Master breeders have been raising Nishikigoi ornamental carp in the mountains of Niigata Prefecture for 400 years. In 2004, the area suffered a catastrophic earthquake that destroyed many villages in the area and threatened the people's livelihoods. The quake destroyed ninety percent of father and son Tetsutaro and Taro Kataoka's 30,000 carp. We follow the Kataoka family as they rebuild their lives. Taro has a burning desire to become a successful master breeder on his own terms, and the ensuing struggle between the father and son puts strain on their relationship. The program focuses on the hopes of a family recovering from disaster.
イナサ ～風と向き合う集落の四季～ [NHK]
｜Length : 52min. ｜Year : 2006 ｜
Inasa: a wind from the southeast that blows from spring through summer. "The inasa wind means big catches," goes an old saying among residents of Arahama. Their hamlet, part of the city of Sendai, faces the Pacific Ocean in the northeastern part of Japan's largest main island, Honshu. In times past, harsh cold spells sometimes ruined crops, leading to famine. The people of Arahama learned to help each other through such hard times by sharing the bounty of the seas and the fruit of the fields. They have not forgotten this wisdom even today. This programme focuses on the folkways of a community whose people reckon the changing of the seasons by slight shifts of the wind. It documents one year in the life of this hamlet of farmers and fisherfolk: how they live in thankfulness for nature's blessings and the generations who preceded them.
｜Length : 48min. ｜Year : 2013 ｜
Aino is a village in the island of Shikoku, Japan. The only house remaining in this mountain village is of the Takezaki family, consisting of Grandpa Isamu (78), Grandma Ichiko (76) and their dog.
Spring time is here and the day the Takezakis have been waiting for all year has finally arrived. Today is the day when many visitors will come to view "Aino no Hana" (Flower of Aino), the weeping cherry tree that Grandpa Isamu planted in his youth.
The local people claim that no tree matches the beauty of this cherry tree.
The reason for this is because of its spherical dome-like shape and its beautiful reflection cast on the surrounding pond. But it's also because of the warm smile and hostility that Grandpa Isamu provides to all the visitors...
Visitors will take photos, compose a haiku, and even perform a concert of shamisen (a traditional Japanese string instrument) to embrace the beauty of the tree.
Just for one day of the year, Grandpa Isamu and Grandma Ichiko's house turns into an amusement park! It gets so crowded with visitors that a 75 year-old neighbor helps out to direct the traffic of cars outside. At night, Grandpa Isamu even lights up the tree so that the visitors can enjoy this special day until the very end.
Today is the day the cherry tree is in full bloom.
What will the special day be like this year?
This is the story of a beautiful weeping cherry tree and a couple that lives in an isolated corner of Japan.
Forming Bonds, Making the Future
｜Length : 46min. ｜Year : 2014 ｜
Every single day in the vast stretches of nature in Tokachi, Hokkaido, farmers struggle with nature, deal with the reality of life and death, and carry on with their farm work. In order to realize their wish to deepen the interaction between agricultural and urban areas, the farmers of Tokachi started up a farm homestay program where urban high school students spend a night at the farmers’ houses to experience the rural life and farm work. On its first year, the program only accepted 24 students. However, in 2014, its 5th year, the program drew around 3,000 high school students to Tokachi.
In this program, actress Nao Minamisawa visits a Tokachi dairy farm and tries her hand at taking care of newborn calves and milking cows, both of which are tasks visiting high school students experience.
The program puts high school students through things they aren’t used to—like touching soil, getting muddy, and dealing with crops and cows—to learn firsthand about the importance of life and the hardships of farmers. Furthermore, the students feel the warmth of a family as they sit down to eat together with everyone. What do the students learn over the short stay of one night and two days? And what expressions do they show at the end of this experience?
We cover the farm homestay experience of the 11th-grade coed class of the Nara Women’s University Secondary School, who have come from the Kansai area for their school trip, and witness their hard work and the tears they shed.
Growing Old in Rural Japan ～Time with 5 Elderly Friends～
どーんと鹿児島 お日さまに照らされて～私とふるさとの先輩たち～ [MBC]
｜Length : 45 ｜Year : 2018 ｜
As younger people move to nearby cities, the population of rural Japan continues to shrink and age rapidly. This documentary takes a close look at the lives of 5 elderly people (ages 84 to 94) who are living in rural Japan, on the southern island of Kyushu. It follows them in their daily lives as they grow vegetables, ride the local bus, do rehabilitation work, socialize with their friends and share their feelings about aging and dying.
The following five individuals are the main focus of this program:
Yoshi (94) lives alone, farms, and takes the bus to the hospital. Her son visits every weekend to help with his mother’s farm. Chikayoshi (90) is a retired plasterer who is forever making or growing something and shares his philosophy – his wisdom – about life and death. Himo (91) lives alone. She farms and socializes with the many friends who stop by her house. She doesn’t want to grow old. Toshio (84) is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. He wants to regain his strength so he can return to his home and die there. Aya (90) lives alone. Her husband died 50 years ago and she raised her kids on her own. She gardens, cares for her cedar trees and continues to drive wherever she goes.